Tammy Buckley - Editor - Sunday News 13 July 2008
FIRST he powered his house using the sun, and now Kiwi energy expert Simon Cope is fueling his car with water.
Simon's home in Meadowbank, Auckland, is featured on TV and in newspapers whenever there's an electricity crisis. Running it on solar energy for the past 11 years, he's cut his electricity bill to $55 a month and even sold excess electricity back to the power board.
His latest budget buster is also a potential headline-maker.
Simon's modified a small hydrogen gas-making kit to fit a car, and says he has slashed the petrol bill in his Honda CRV by 20 percent with just a cup full of water a week!
He first came across the concept of using hydrogen to supplement petrol 20 years ago but it was only when gas prices started breaking records he gave it more thought.
"As petrol prices started going up and up, I started looking on the internet to see if that technology had improved."
Simon, an electrician by trade, imported a hydrogen gas-making device from the US and applied a bit of Kiwi ingenuity.
His finished kit looks more No8 wire than high tech a glass jar filled with distilled water with several wires attached, that is attached alongside the engine.
But it allows a tiny amount of electricity to be taken out of the car's battery to turn water into a gas called HHO (2 parts hydrogen + 1 part oxygen), which is then fed in alongside the fuel, cutting down the amount of petrol used.
The driver is able to switch between being operating fully on petrol or having it supplemented with the hydrogen.
"The advantage of this thing is its easy to install, it's cost-effective and I don't see any long-term (negative) effects,'' Simon said.
Simon told Sunday News he has been testing the kit which he has named Water for Petrol in his 1996 Honda for the past two months. He says he has achieved a 20 percent savings on petrol consumption with the addition of the weekly cup of water.
Father-of-four Simon, 43, who was the first person in New Zealand to sell electricity back to a power company, is selling his Water for Petrol kits for $350 each.
He says he has 60 prospective clients.
``If it's in more cars we can compare results,'' he said.
Simon & Kristina Cope
c/- Solar Energy House.com
19 Manapau Street, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072
Ph: +64 9 5780704
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